Monday, October 27, 2008

Am I Strong Enough To Be Your Mom?

Rhett was up early this morning. There was about an hour between when I got the other kids off to school and Andy waking up that we made a bed on the floor in the living room and watched Sesame Street.

When Rhett gets up the first thing he likes to do is take his jammies off, and just lie around in his diaper. (He likes his morning back and tummy rub.) Today as the house was silent albeit for the sounds of Baby Bear and Telly, whining back and forth to each other about going to the monster sing-a-long at Monster Day Care. Which, Baby Bear did NOT get invited to by the way. However come to find out later in the show that his invitation just got send to a Bebe Beara.....And he got her 20% off drapes flier instead. (This is my life folks.)

Anyways back to the subject here.....

As I was rubbing his back I traced my fingers along his scar from his latest surgery. It's healing well. Still bright purple, but it looks good. Then he rolled over for his tummy rub. I'll be the first to admit. It's hard to rub his tummy. It looks like a battle zone. Most of his heart surgery scars are just faint white lines, and you can't see them unless you are very close to him. But when you touch him you can feel each and every one of those scars no matter how small they are.

There's the big line down his chest, which only has a small space of about 2 cm before his next line from his Nissen starts. This one is still fresh as well and bright purple. Then there are all of the little tiny dots from his pacer wires, and the lines, as well as small drains that were there just below his ribs. I trace the circles from his chest tubes that look like he had bullets rip through the sides of his ribs. He giggles as I work my way up to his armpit for a little tickle.
Then last but not least I trace the scars from his hernia repair. This surgery was the scariest one for us, not the surgery itself of course, but the events that happened after the surgery was done. It was scary not knowing the outcome and wondering if we were ever going to get to bring out little boy back home with us. Wondering if he would ever be put in my arms again, as a squirmy wriggly little toddler. Not the limp sedated and swollen little boy that was lying in his crib fighting for his life.

Rhett is only three years old. I am only 29 years old...(for a couple of weeks anyways) and I never thought that I would be one of those parents. One of the ones who had a second life that revolved around health care and hospital stays. I didn't think I was strong enough for it. There are days that I still think that. This morning was one of those days. It crossed my mind as I sat there in awe of all that this little boy has gone through and continues to go through. He is so strong. He just keeps getting knocked down. I feel so guilty every time we walk him to the operating room. He seems so innocent, not knowing what is going to happen to him.

He plays in the playroom while we wait for the Dr's and anesthesiologists to come and talk to us about the procedure and all of the risks. We know the drill. They ask us if he will need some happy medicine for him to go back to the O.R.

Of course not we say, he doesn't care. We always get to walk him to the surgical doors, at which point my stomach feels like it is dragging on the floor, and I beg the anesthesiologist to take good care of him, and be careful. They usually know the history, and understand my fears, and that puts me at ease, just a little. At that point I hand my 29 lb bundle of fun to them. He goes happily, and blows me kisses, tells me bye and turns to grab the stethoscope to listen to whoever is carrying him. He knows just what to do, and where to put it.

I turn around to walk to the surgical waiting room, often wondering why he has to go through this again. The receptionist knows us, when I walk in she says, "So what's Rhett having done today?" I tell her, she asks if he is going to the PICU afterwards, yes of course he is. She asks if I remember the drill, yes of course I do, and I got and sit and wait. Wait until I get to see him again. Wait to see that new scar that I will eventually trace during our morning ritual.

He is always livid when we get to the PICU. He is trying to stand up and rip everything off, even though he just had surgery. But his eyes light up the second he sees me, and I crawl into bed with him. He snuggles up close, and shows me his owie. I grab his head and pull it to me and kiss the top of it. I tell him, "I know, baby, I know."

He eventually gives into sleep and I lie there with him watching the monitors making sure he remembers to breathe. I wonder again, if I am strong enough to do all of this. Why God keeps handing out these trials to us.

My only answer is that I am not strong enough yet. I am not the person that He wants me to be. I am not quite there yet. But I am getting there I can feel it.

We are not finished with procedures yet. We have another MRI coming up in November that will determine whether or not he will have to have the cyst removed from his brain, and he is going to have to have some major dental work done. His teeth have rotted because of all of the reflux issues that he had.

We will make it through it, because we have to. I know that Rhett is always fighting right along with me, and I know that we both chose this life before coming here. We'll be okay. Our whole family will, because we live our life not day by day, but moment by moment and breath by breath. We take the time to appreciate the little things that many people just pass by.

That's how we make it.


Tina:0) said...

Oh, Pam! YES - you are strong enough! I've been thinking about this a lot too here lately & I came across a song that brings me to tears every time I hear it. Its called "I will carry you," & was written by Angie Smith. Her husband, Todd, sings with the group Selah. She wrote the song after the loss of their youngest daughter. It is such a touching tribute to her... explains things well. But today I was thinking about it, & had some tears... of joy this time. There's a line in it that goes:
"I will praise the One who's chosen me to carry you." It was only today that it struck me... I was chosen! He chose ME to care for my Vaeh, as He chose YOU to care for Rhett, Dakota, Chloee & Hunter! So, to answer your question in your post title - YES, you are strong enough to be his Mom!!

I hope that your letter gets some attention - no one has the right to treat anyone that way, especially someone in management!

Hope you all have a good week!

Tina & Vaeh:0)

PS - Dakota - Don't let anyone discourage you! You are a wonderful person, created just the way God wanted you to be & you're perfect!

little.birdy said...

I think that you have answered your own question in this post. :) May you continue to be blessed!

Becca said...

Pam, this is so heartbreaking. You're such an amazing mom to this amazing little boy, and I just want to hug you both.

Michelle said...

You know you're a rock. You don't need me to remind you again, do you?! Love you, honey! Very well said, by the way.

Chris said...

Pam, you are one of the strongest moms I've ever had the pleasure to "know". You are still so young and have been through so much. You are a force to be reckoned with and I have no doubt that even greater things are in store for you.

How blessed your children are to have you as a mom.

Barbara Manatee said...

I've only been reading your blog a short time, but am already amazed by your strength and perseverance with all you face on a daily basis. I can't even imagine all you've faced over recent years (with 4 kids AND you're younger than I am, still!). Rhett sounds like an amazing little boy but I think his mother earns just as much recognition for all she endures and does for her family!

MichelleH said...


You ARE strong enough. It is our human nature to question these things, but as outsiders we see your strength and know that your children were all chosen for you because of who you are as well as who you continue to become. Life is a journey and we never know where it may lead us, but you show us each and every day that you are passing each of life's tests the best way that you know how.....with courage and unconditional love. I feel very blessed to "know" you.

My Three Sons said...

Very well written. I could feel your compassion through your words. All four of your kids are lucky enough to have you for a mom. Life isn't always greener on the other side. That's why you cherish what you have!!! So I think that is why God has chosen you for these four. He knew you were going to be great!

Niksmom said...

Aw, honey, you ARE strong. Strong enough to know when to lean on others' shoulders and be lifted up, too.

As I read your description of Rhett's scars on his chest and tummy —sigh— I thought of how much our boys are alike in their shared experiences, their fierce determination, and their unwavering love of life and ability to touch lives and hearts. The strength we have is the strength they reflect back.

You know we're all here holding your hand (well, virtually anyway) on the journey together. xoxo

The Bryant Family said...

He, our Heavenly Father knows you and he knows Rhett. You two were made for each other....I know it is hard at times to understand, I myself as many other parent I am sure, have asked the same question. Can I handle one more day, anohter surgery, another day of can I without losing my mind.
You are doing great and YES YES are strong enough GIRL!

Kate said...

Your post spoke directly to my heart today as my 2.5 year old is facing yet another surgery which is expected will permanently paralyze one of his legs. Thank you for writing this... it is comforting to realize there ARE other moms who fully "get" how I feel and that I'm not alone.

You ARE strong enough because you have to be. And from my viewpoint, you seem to be doing a really good job with all of your kids, not just Rhett. (((hugs)))

Mommy to those Special Ks said...

*sigh* I totally feel like I could have written that post. It's just not fair. One day Rhett will get a LONG break from surgery. A VERY long break. He deserves it, and so do you!

Leah said...

You know you're not alone, right? You have God, you have your family, and you have all of us who've traveled the same path. Here's where I was, 3 years ago. This was before we added 3 or 4 more surgeries to Angela's list. Blech!

Mrs Wibbs said...

*big fat lump in throat, trying to concentrate on breathing normally, and not give in to emotion too much...* Pam, you are an amazing woman, and God has chosen you and Andy because you ARE strong enough to care for a child such as Rhett and to not give up. God says He will not allow us to go through more than we can cope with and I can tell you that He is pleased with you my friend! You are amazing... And loved. And you are not alone.

Imsavimsa said...

You might not believe it, but I know exactly how you feel. We've gone through 6 surgeries and 2 additional anesthesias so far.

His weeks are filled with therapies, one of them is PT which is quite painful for him. And once every three weeks he also has to get immunoglobuline subcutaneously at the hospital.

We met a new therapist today for communication training (don't know the correct term in English) who started to cry when I told her Victor's story from birth to present. It's times like that I get struck by how much pain and struggling he's really been through in his short life so far.

We up for a major back surgery in March next year, and my heart breaks for my son knowing he will have to endure so much pain again. And he is just 19 months old.

Mia mom to Victor (Noonan syndrome)
Aland Islands, Finland

jenhiatt said...

Pam, you are amazing. Thanks for giving me a good cry. I feel you sister and I haven't been through half of what you have!!!!

Laura said...

Pam, YOU ROCK! Major (((hugs))) my friend! We love you and Rhett, and are always keeping you both in our thoughts and prayers.

When I grow up, I want to be just like you! ;)

Nancy Brown said...

I am that mom to. After a week like today I don't think I am strong enough .But what do I do..I just get up tommorow and go to the daily activites.